Title: The Things We Keep
Author: Sally Hepworth
Publication: January 19, 2016
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads)
Anna Forster, in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease at only thirty-eight years old, knows that her family is doing what they believe to be best when they take her to Rosalind House, an assisted living facility. She also knows there’s just one another resident her age, Luke. What she does not expect is the love that blossoms between her and Luke even as she resists her new life at Rosalind House. As her disease steals more and more of her memory, Anna fights to hold on to what she knows, including her relationship with Luke.
When Eve Bennett is suddenly thrust into the role of single mother she finds herself putting her culinary training to use at Rosalind house. When she meets Anna and Luke she is moved by the bond the pair has forged. But when a tragic incident leads Anna’s and Luke’s families to separate them, Eve finds herself questioning what she is willing to risk to help them.
**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.**
Women’s Fiction is not always my favorite. I find the story lines to be too… frothy and frilly most of the time. “The Things We Keep” by Sally Hepworth caught my eye. Cover art is always the first thing you see, and this one seemed so peaceful and simply. Not overdone. So reading the description I decided to give it a try.
This novel follows three people. Anna, a 39 year old woman with early onset Alzheimers who is placed in a living facility when she starts having trouble remembering basic things. Eve, a now single mother entering the work force after a business scandal with her husband and his sudden demise leaves her widowed. And last, Clementine, daughter of Eve, and adorable 7-year-old girl learning to cope with life without her dad. I’m not a fan of stories that jump from one point-of-view to the next, or ones that jump in timelines, but Hepworth did such a wonderful job writing this story that I hardly noticed.
This novel was so thoroughly written that there weren’t holes when I finished reading. I hate holes. Everything tied up in a nice little ending that left you satisfied. That is not saying everything ends up perfectly, but everything does come to a close. Anna is so quirky and funny that you cannot help but love her. Her dry sense of humor makes you laugh even more, because most of the time she doesn’t even realize she is being funny. You feel for the things she is going through. Hepworth wrote her character so well that you felt like you were inside the mind of someone with dementia and its heartbreaking and fascinating at the same time. If nothing else, this story shows you that the little things in life should not be taken for granted. Little things, like finding your closet in the morning to get dressed. Eve is such a strong character, but you know she is struggling. She’s the typical single mom. She isn’t sure what she is doing or if she is failing miserably at raising her daughter, but she is trying her hardest to make the right decisions. Clem reminds me of my daughter. So smiley and happy, but when something effects her, it effects her strongly.
These characters could be anybody you know. They are so realistic and true to life that I’m not sure I’ve read better characters. While it is listed as women’s fiction, “The Things We Keep” holds a bit of mystery, some evil plotting, and sneaking around as well. It’s not just a boring read. It flows extremely well for jumping from person to person and back in time to back to present. You don’t often find a book about Alzheimer and Dementia that is uplifting. This novel shows you that while things might look terrible or sound terrible, but love always conquers and life is always worth living for something. The well developed characters allow for the story to play out in your mind. I could see this as a movie and I’d be there opening weekend to watch! Such a wonderful work of literature by Hepworth. I very much look forward to reading more from her.
“The Things We Keep” comes out in digital and hard copy January 19th. You can pick up your copy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or in your local bookstore. Also check out author Sally Hepworth on her website here! And make sure to add “The Things We Keep” to your 2016 reading list on Goodreads!